No gov’t funds used for center, says Palace
Malacañang on Thursday said the government did not spend public funds in building the “mega” drug rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija, which Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chair Dionisio Santiago said was a “mistake.”
Incoming presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said a Chinese philanthropist financed the construction of the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay. It was envisioned to house 10,000 drug patients.
“There was no government fund spent for that rehab center. A Chinese philanthropist gave it,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“So, even if that’s the opinion of the head of the Dangerous Drugs Board, government money was not wasted,” he added.
Santiago earlier said that setting up a mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija was a mistake and that it was costly to maintain.
“Impractical. That was a mistake. The President was excited [about the project], but money spent building that could have been spent for smaller community-based rehabilitation centers which could accommodate only 150 or 200,” he said.
Roque said it was the Chinese philanthropist who decided to build the rehabilitation center.
“That was a decision made by the donor and we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
“But we will certainly consider what the expert has said and in the future, if we are to invest public funds, we will pursue the strategy recommended by the head of the DDB,” he said.
President Duterte earlier this year also led the groundbreaking of a P700-million drug rehab center in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Once finished, it can house more than 5,000 drug patients.
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